With unemployment remaining above 9%, and fear of a double-dip recession, America needs millions of jobs NOW.
Trickle-down policies like tax cuts will not create millions of jobs.
Neither will complex infrastructure projects with long lead times, heavy capital equipment, and few workers - as ARA overseer Ron Klain explained.
Instead, we need an emergency jobs program that puts every single dollar into payroll.
JobParty.us has a simple emergency jobs plan: hire a teacher's aide for every public school teacher in America for one year.
That's over 3 million jobs - and they can start on September 1 when school starts.
If we put 3 million of the 14 million unemployed Americans to work, the official unemployment rate would immediately drop from 9% to 7%.
In addition, the multiplier effect would add another 1 million jobs and reduce unemployment to 6.4%
How to run it?
We would administer a test to all applicants to determine the highest grade level at which they can meaningfully help the teacher.
We would give preferences to military veterans, and to workers who have exhausted their state's maximum unemployment benefits (so-called 99ers).
We would screen out applicants with criminal convictions and sex offenses.
How much would it cost?
If the Federal government paid each aide $30K per year, the total 1-year gross cost to employ 3 million workers is only $90 billion.
Moreover, the $90 billion gross cost would be offset by savings in unemployment, Medicaid, food stamps, and other safety-net programs. There would also be increased revenues for Social Security, Medicare, and federal/state/local taxes. Thus the net cost would be roughly $55 billion.
By contrast, the extension of the Bush tax cuts was expected to create just 1 million jobs at a cost of $858 billion - 1/4 the jobs at 15 times the cost.
Where could the $55 billion come from?
1. Extending the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich cost $858B. Raise $55B through a temporary millionaire surtax that is popular in every poll.
2. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost $160B each year. Raise $55B by bringing 1/3 of our troops home.
3. Corporate welfare, including subsidies for Big Oil and Ethanol, costs $2 trillion. Raise $55B by slicing 3% out of corporate welfare.
But if $55 billion is beyond reach, the total cost of the program can be reduced either by lowering the one-year salary, or by lowering the number of teacher's aides.
Artists were an important part of the WPA. In the first year of "Federal One," 40,000 artists were paid to paint murals, make theater, document history, teach music, and more.
We would create an "Artist in Residence" program for 501(c)3 arts organizations that have a lease for a public space to increase the number of performances and exhibits. We would give every school an "Artist in Residence" to inspire children to appreciate the arts and develop their own artistic talents.
We would also put "artist trainees" to work under the supervision of practicing artists and professional arts organizations. They would bring the arts to nursing homes, hospitals, community centers, and other groups whose lives would be enriched by increased exposure to the arts.
There are 130 million housing units in the U.S. and many could be made more energy efficient through weatherization, new appliances, and solar additions.
Certified home energy contractors could employ 500,000 government-paid helpers to reduce the cost to homeowners for energy efficiency upgrades, which would encourage more homeowners to hire a contractor.
This would reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce energy prices for everyone, and reduce global warming. It would also give helpers a range of skills that would help them get jobs and improve their own homes, further stimulating the housing economy.
Medicare provides Home Health Aides only if "you are also getting skilled care such as nursing care or other therapy." That leaves out X million elderly who live at home but could use the help of an aide.
If we employed Home Health Aides to visit four seniors each day, we could put X/4 people to work.
There are 1.5 million nursing home patients in the U.S.
If we hired a Helper for every 5 patients to help with non-nursing needs, we could put 300,000 people to work.
Susie Madrak proposes
Street cleaners. Most big cities have cut way back on cleaning our sidewalks and as a result, many urban neighborhoods are littered with trash. These quality of life issues have been shown to increase crime. Let's clean up!
Most cities rely on big Sanitation Department vehicles that employ few workers to superficially "sweep" many streets.
Would it make sense to hire a much larger number of workers to sweep their immediate neighborhoods with old-fashioned brooms and elbow grease?
There are 1,200 free health clinics supported by the National Association of Free Clinics. They rely on a volunteer workforce of doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, technicians and other health care professionals. If those workers were paid and the number of clinics expanded, America's health care needs could be better met.
37 million hungry Americans rely on 70,000 food programs supported by Feeding America. Each food pantry could employ five workers to
- collect, store, and distribute unprepared food
- prepare meals for on-site and off-site eating
- educate clients about nutrition, exercise, and health
- provide primary healthcare
This would significantly reduce hunger, and improve educational outcomes for hungry children. It would significantly improve the health of poor Americans and reduce healthcare costs for everyone. And it would give workers practical skills to find permanent jobs and improve their families' lives.
We're putting together our plan for 15 million jobs by reaching out to the best economic thinkers we can find - including you.
What ideas do you have for creating jobs?
Jonathan Tasini explains how we can save 1 million endangered jobs for just $16 billion - $16,000 per job.
Tasini would expand a New York State program nationwide:
The program is called Targeted Employment Maintenance Program (TEMP) and the document was given to me by Bruce Herman, the state's Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development. Right after the September 11th 2001 attacks, a similar program saved jobs.